Friday, June 27, 2014

Cheeseheads, Culver's, and Customer Service

What a day! We woke up in Chicago, gathered our things, and bade goodbye to our friends the Smedleys. Then we discovered that the entire stretch of I-90 from O’Hare to Rockford was under construction, with a speed limit of only 45. It was painfully slow and frustrating. Still, we made it into Wisconsin and picked up speed again. And that was when Hannah Mathews texted us.

Hannah was a seminary spouse, and she and my classmate Weston are packing to move out of the apartment building next to ours. Hannah’s message said, “Um, did you guys know your trailer is still in the Braddock Lee parking lot? The apartment manager is ticked. They haven’t yet figured out how to tow something that big, but they’re working on it!”

We immediately called U-Pack to sort out the mess, and we also called the apartment complex and begged them not to tow away all our worldly possessions. The trailer was supposed to be picked up first thing in the morning on the 25th to begin its own cross-country trek. But for some reason, that hadn’t happened. Now, over two days later, the distance between us and our trailer was getting bigger all the time. And U-Pack had promised us a July 2 delivery! How could that happen now?

It took us most of the rest of today’s drive to sort through all this. Luckily I’d kept a good paper trail in Outlook, and I was able to explain to them that yes, I had confirmed the pickup time, and yes, I had been promised a July 2 delivery date – before 10 a.m., at that. At first they wanted to reschedule us for a guaranteed delivery on July 9, but we explained that this wasn’t at all acceptable considering our original contract.

Actually, by the end of the day, I was very impressed with U-Pack. They had made a huge mistake that was a royal pain for us and for them, but they wrestled their computer into submission and gave us a discounted price and are still saying we will have the delivery on July 3 at the latest—but, possibly, still July 2. We’ll call on July 1 to find out for sure. And, above all, Hannah Mathews is our hero!

Up the road about an hour and a half beyond Madison, we met our old friends the Johansons. Ted Johanson was the Lutheran pastor in St. Ignace, Michigan, while my dad was the Episcopal priest there. I have many fond memories of Ted, Joan, and their four kids. Here we all are at Culver’s for lunch (with our usually patient young traveler getting a little grumpy and camera-shy).

Finally, we crossed the Mississippi and arrived in Bloomington, Minnesota, home of the Mall of America, which we won’t see at all. We relaxed in
the pool from a day of hard driving, knowing that tomorrow will be the hardest day of all. Tomorrow we will rise as early as we possibly can and begin our 500-mile trek to Dickinson, North Dakota! (Please pray for us.)

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